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Berlin: Rigaer Straße Fights Back

Ichhasse Klowne | 06.03.2007 03:07 | Free Spaces | Social Struggles | World

Berlin 2007: People's everyday life is increasingly dominated by fear, stress, and sorrow. Workplaces and social structures are being reduced, the cost of living is growing, at the same time incomes decline and jobs become more insecure. Unemployed people are being demonised as "parasites" and rents are getting higher,
even though thousands of houses are empty and slowly rotting. To be concise: the situation is becoming more and more impossible, especially for those who do not accept this logic and competion.

The space for open projects, non-commercial social relations, alternative forms of living and the freedom from state control, from the pressure to consume and discrimination is becoming less and less. Projects have existed for many years representing such freespaces are being bought, evicted, modernised and forgotten! Those who have survived this are facing constantly changing conditons that makes their existence unbearable.

Due to these reasons, different houses in Rigaer Straße have come together in order to fight against the loss of their freespaces which are not yet
(completely) under control, in which there is still a possibility of (relative) free movement, which offer people a place where they can realise their ideas,
different ways of life and dreams. A space where there is no place for fascists, racists, sexists and anti-semites! Our anti-fascist houses offer a secure place and support to people who are under threat or attacked from these arseholes.

We want to live through the concept of self-organisation and DIY rather than anonymously and as strangers. At the same time, since we are still
living within a capitalist society, we do carry all it's contradictions in ourselves, against which we have to fight against every day. It is exactly this everyday fight we want to bring forward here in Rigaer Straße. However, we also do want to make clear that the problem for us is not merely the one of keeping our freespaces, in order to live "confortably", but rather to have structures and offer them as space to other autonomous projects and groups.

However, what we are faced with now is the modern process of gentrification. Gentrification describes a process where an area is made posh - rent and the cost of living increases, local amenities close down and are replaced with shops selling useless luxury items, local pubs are replaced by souless yuppie bars, the area is cleaned and sterilised. The exisiting residents are forced out, and are replaced by a homogenous mass of white middle class consumers. Speculators invest and demand profit, resulting in the building of more luxury housing and further modernisation, which accelerates the process.

Living and social spaces for those who do not have much money are simply disappearing. Many house projects, traveller sites and autonomous structures are being confronted with this problem, and they are fighting for their survival. They are not the only ones who are facing this: it is about many more people, because gentrification means displacement and exclusion for the unemployed, low-waged, ethnic minorities, homeless as well as people like us.

Exactly because of this, it is important to work together now and make clear that there are many people who are unwilling to bow to this pressure, who are still going to be lindividuals and loud! How long would it take before this gentrification process would turn this town into a completely controlled and sterilised place? One of the best examples of this process is the "Media Spree Project": an aggressive development in Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain around the area of the Spree river, which has been transformed into a place for multi-national companies, penthouses and other kinds of expensive rubbish.

There is a question that surely remains: how much further this process can go ahead without resistance? There is indeed many groups and initiatives who are trying to fight against this by decided and radical (and militant) means. We think that direct action is always a good answer. We are determined that we will not give up our free-spaces, houses, infoshops and somethings more, without struggle and resistance. That is why we have got together and we decided to give life to a campaign which will allow us to keep these free-spaces in Rigaer Straße - as in Berlin and all around the world - and actually even creating more, since our spaces are always getting smaller and tighter...

A campaign to show the municipality, the city, and the investors how we will not tolerate their desire to make profits here, because there are still many people that want to fight for a society free from oppression. We have many ideas, and we need many more, on how to keep being "a spanner in the works" of the gentrification process. However, this struggle needs support from every side, in order to achieve our aim.

Don´t let the selling out of your city going further! It is about OUR life! About the right to self-determination and development for everybody! Don´t let yourself be kicked out and don´t allow others to be kicked out! Build networks, build groups! Spit in the fucking soup of the investors, yuppies and city planners!

Self-organisation means , and above all, working together in solidarity, so that in another 20 years there will still be DIY projects!

Therefore, pay attention to future announcements, be prepared, and let us show them that Copenhagen is not so faraway...

Freespaces will be fought for - not begged for!
Solidarity with all endangered projects!

The Long Weeekend Of Rigaer Straße

We are living here in Rigaer Straße autonomously for 17 years, trying to live and struggle together in a DIY way without hierarchy in this grey capitalist world.

Come and join us from 30th March till 1st April for workshops, actions, parties, to share food and celebrate a culture of resistance.

Ichhasse Klowne
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